Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/436

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418
THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS

equivalent of the dream. But all this is accompanied by arbitrary procedure and over-ingenious exploitation of coincidence. Anyone who will go to this useless trouble can in this way work out any desired interpretation for any dream whatever.

If such objections are really advanced against us, we may refer in our defence to the agreement of our dream interpretations, to the surprising connections with other dream elements which appear in following out the different particular presentations, and to the improbability that anything which so perfectly covers and explains the dream as our dream interpretations do could be gained otherwise than by following psychic connections previously established. We can also justify ourselves by the fact that the method of dream analysis is identical with the method used in the solution of hysterical symptoms, where the correctness of the method is attested through the emergence and fading away of the symptoms—that is, where the elucidation of the text by the interposed illustrations finds corroboration. But we have no object in avoiding this problem—how one can reach to a pre-established aim by following a chain of thoughts spun out thus arbitrarily and aimlessly—for, though we are unable to solve the problem, we can get rid of it entirely.

It is in fact demonstrably incorrect to state that we abandon ourselves to an aimless course of thought when, as in the interpretation of dreams, we relinquish our reflection and allow the unwished-for idea to come to the surface. It can be shown that we can reject only those end-presentations that are familiar to us, and that as soon as these stop the unknown, or, as we say more precisely, the unconscious end-presentations, immediately come into play, which now determined the course of the unwished-for presentations. A mode of thinking without end-idea can surely not be brought about through any influence we can exert on our own mental life; nor do I know either of any state of psychic derangement in which such mode of thought establishes itself. The psychiatrists have in this field much too early rejected the solidity of the psychic structure. I have ascertained that an unregulated stream of thoughts, devoid of the end-presentation, occurs as little in the realm of hysteria and paranoia as in the formation